Government has renewed talks with a Chinese investor R and F for the revival of Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) project after the initial deal collapsed.
This emerged during a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce tour to establish the state of industries in the Midlands Province.
The committee began their tour with a visit to Sable Chemicals where they were informed on how the fertiliser producing company is operating.
The team then proceeded to Lancashire Steel a subsidiary of ZISCO and were appraised that the steel processing firm is seeking to make a comeback following the injection of a $2 million loan facility.
ZISCO Group Chief Executive Officer Mr Alois Gono hinted that all hope is not lost for the company’s revival as government is back to the negotiating table with a Chinese firm.
“What I can say is that basing on our own assessments and those of other investors, we need in the region of $350 to $500 million for us to kick-start operations. We had many deals collapsing including that of R and F and Esser but our parent ministry is re-engaging R and F to iron out some modalities and government will make announcements soon as we are simply a caretaker management,” said Mr Gono.
Committee chairman, Cde Joshua Sacco saids his team was touched by the collapse of the industry in Kwekwe and highlighted that they were going to make recommendations on the need for the revival of some of these firms.
“My heart bleeds with regards to what we have seen here in the Midlands in the past two days. It’s surprising that at Sable Chemicals we just need to inject some money and do away with importing a finished product in a move that could change the face of agriculture in this country. Here at ZISCO it has been years since this plant has not been functional and how many families are suffering. What I have also realised is that these firms are interrelated as Lancashire Steel requires steel from ZISCO while ZISCO requires oxygen from Sable Chemicals hence we need to make sure that all these firms are back on their foot,” said Cde Sacco.
ZISCO used to be the oxygen that breathed life to most of the steel producing firms including its subsidiary Lancashire Steel.
The revival of this sleeping giant remains critical for the country’s industrialisation drive as thousands of families in this industrial town remain optimistic of a breakthrough 11 years on.